Despite finishing the season just 7-6 in 2013, the Syracuse Orange took some positive steps as a program last fall under Scott Shafer. They face a daunting challenge if they hope to take that next step in a very difficult ACC Atlantic Division next season as they contend with the defending national champion in the Florida State Seminoles, a BCS bowl winning Clemson Tigers, and newcomer to the conference Louisville Cardinals. If they hope to find some success next fall, they’ll need a big year from quarterback Terrel Hunt.
Last season, Hunt was up and down as he struggled to find his footing under center as a sophomore. He finished the year completing 61.2 percent of his passes for 1,632 yards with 10 touchdowns and eight interceptions but added 500 yards of rushing and seven touchdowns on the ground as well. Hunt really started to round into form late in the season, throwing for a season-high 270 yards with two touchdowns in a 34-31 regular season finale victory over the Boston College Eagles.
In fact, in the final three games of the 2013 campaign, including a 21-17 win over the Minnesota Golden Gophers in the Texas Bowl, Hunt accounted for 794 yards of total offense and six total touchdowns. The coaching staff challenged Hunt to carry that momentum into the spring and earn the starting job all over again, which he did handily. The second-year starter emerged as a real leader of the team this spring as he has developed his game tremendously during the offseason.
Offensive coordinator George McDonald raved about the growth of Hunt during the spring, saying that he was playing at a totally different level, doing things this spring that he was unable to do last season. His growth will make him a leader of the team in 2014 and a major focal point of the offense. How well he handles that added responsibility will determine just how dangerous the Orange can be next season.